The best Dubai events and other things to do in Dubai in November, including deals at Dubai restaurants, bars and spas, cinema, concerts and festivals.
Finally, after months of ever-so-slightly restrictive weather, we can absolutely guarantee November will be perfect. It really the Get Outdoors time of year and traditionally a month for a raft of exciting new openings. So what's stopping you? Check out our list below and be inspired to make the most of November.
Dubbed the ‘happiest 5K on the planet’, the Color Run is a mix between India’s Holi festival (the festival of colours) and a half-an-hour jog with thousands of friends.
The event isn’t new to Dubai but this year’s Color Run is part of The Tropicolor World Tour, whch brings a fun and fresh Caribbean twist to post-run celebrations.
Participants can look forward to the island-themed Finish Festival at the ‘Rainbow Beach’, which will feature steel drummers, dancing and massive color throws.
Each Color Runner will receive a brand new Tropicolor Race Pack complete with t-shirt, headband and flower lei.
More than 34,000 Color Runners took part in the past three Dubai events and this year event is set to be just as popular.
According to the organizers, it’s a perfect event for first-time runners and anyone looking to lead a healthier lifestyle.
A limited number of Deluxe Packs are available for Color Runners this year, starting from Dhs240 and including special perks such as VIP parking and tropical-themed merchandise such as party sunglasses.
Limited early bird tickets are now on sale for Dhs140, with kids aged four and under running for free.
You can buy them online on www.thecolorrun.ae or at Adventure HQ stores in JBR, Times Square Centre and Galleria Mall in Dubai, and Yas Mall and Dalma Mall in Abu Dhabi.
$1 from every registration will be donated to Friends of Cancer Patients.
The longest-running musical in the West End – it’s been on continuously since 1985 – comes to Dubai for the first time. Based on Victor Hugo’s novel, the musical has been seen by more than 70 million people, and includes the famous song I Dreamed a Dream.
Demand for tickets in Dubai has been so high that organizers have decided that the show should run for an extra week, from November 10 to December 2, rather than until November 24.
Poor Umm Al Quwain. It’s less than an hour from Dubai and by rights should be visited far more frequently by expats, but most swing by for one reason and one reason alone: to pay a visit to Barracuda and its well-known bottle shop. Next door to this there’s Dreamland Aqua Park, which, coupled with a skydive at the nearby flying school, makes for a pretty decent day trip. Still, few seem inspired enough to stay in the ‘retro’ emirate for a whole weekend. But perhaps if they knew about one particular hotel they’d change their minds.
Sitting on the uninterrupted ocean front is the UAQ Beach Resort. It looks pretty dinky from the outside, but you’ll find little to complain about as you’re whisked through a thicket of palm trees on the back of a golf buggy, past a huge pool that’s footsteps from the shores of a private beach. With spacious seafront villas, a shockingly cheap pool bar and tiny kittens meowing from the bushes, we decide we could quite happily spend the evening here doing very little.
But we had more sinister plans during our visit, and could only spare a few minutes to dump our bags and catch a cab over to the nearby Flamingo Beach Resort. Kitsch and charmingly kooky, the Flamingo is one of the lagoon-facing hotels, offering grassy lawns that lead out to a jetty. Rather like Umm Al Quwain itself, it’s a serene spot that offers so much more. Think boat trips and fishing around the 23-kilometre creek known as Khor Umm Al Quwain, itself dotted with tiny mangrove islands inhabited by flamingoes and cormorants. Yet the hotel has been overshadowed by its claim to fame: the art of spearing crustaceans. In other words, crab hunting.
The notoriety of these nightly expeditions means that the Flamingo’s crab-hunting boat is usually full as it splutters off into the mangrove. We’d be hard-pushed to find a more entertaining evening activity as we’re handed spears and told to jump into the shallow water, before creeping stealthily through the mangroves like Amazonian natives. (Or, more accurately, like spear-wielding expats in frumpy fluorescent-orange life jackets, all wading through knee-deep water stabbing wildly at anything and everything that moves).
Time passes and the thrill diminishes as everyone seems to spear a crab except us. We blame it on the fact that the torches we’re holding are attached to the boat, forcing us to march together like a mass killing machine. ‘How are we supposed to spear anything under these conditions?’ we grumble. But we liven up when we get back to shore, where the crabs and the unlucky squid that got in the way are cooked up for dinner.
The next day we head out on the creek again, chugging past tiny islands, spotting long-limbed pink flamingoes fluttering above the mangroves and the inexplicable sight of dozens of watermelons bobbing in the water.
Aside from killing crabs, a waterpark, flying school, museum, motorplex, ladies’ spa and mangrove islands – enough to keep even the most hyperactive tourist entertained for a couple of days – there’s not much more to do in Umm Al Quwain, but this ends up being part of its charm. Later that day, parked on sun loungers at the UAQ Beach Hotel with palm trees in front of us and frosty beverages in hand, we decide doing nothing isn’t so bad after all.
By car From Dubai, head north along the Ras Al Khaimah Road or Emirates Road and follow the signs for Umm Al Quwain.
By bus Buses run from Deira bus station in Dubai and leave when full. A one-way ticket costs Dhs10 per person.
By taxi A Dubai taxi will cost about Dhs170 from Deira bus station. RAK taxis often wait at the station too, and may prove slightly cheaper.
Where to stay
Barracuda Beach Resort The term ‘beach’ in the name is something of a misnomer – the water at the end of the chalets’ private gardens is a lagoon, and staff advise against swimming. It’s basic but clean, although the main draw for tourists is the low-priced bottle shop next door. Near Dreamland Aqua Park, 18km north of UAQ roundabout on the E11 (06 768 1555; www.barracuda.ae). Studios from Dhs600, two-bedroom chalets from Dhs900.
Flamingo Beach Resort All the basics are present and correct: pool, small garden, little private beach. Rooms are clean and the food at Waves restaurant is pretty good. But the main appeal is the chance to scoot out to nearby islands to go fishing and crab hunting. Lagoon Road, near museum (06 765 0000; www.flamingoresort.ae). Doubles from Dhs573, including breakfast.
Umm Al Quwain Beach Hotel The price may be higher than others in these parts, but we all know you get what you pay for. At the UAQ Beach Hotel you get an immaculate private beach, clean chalets with sea views, a massive pool, a cheap bar and some decent food. Opposite KFC, Al Muroor Road (06 76 66647; www.uaqbeachotel.com). Doubles from Dhs850, including breakfast.
What to do
Dreamland Aqua Park A super, splish-splashing waterpark with various fast and enjoyable flumes. You can also camp on the grounds in cute wooden chalets, or pitch a tent on the campsite, and there’s even a go-kart track outside in the car park if you fancy trying your hand at some motor sport. Bonza! Umm Al Quwain-Ras Al Khaimah Road (06 768 1888; www.dreamlanduae.com). Open daily 10am-6pm (7pm in summer). Admission Dhs100 for adults; Dhs70 for children aged four to 11; under fours free.
Emirates Motorplex Umm Al Quwain-Ras Al Khaimah Road, opposite UAQ Aeroclub (06 768 1166; www.motorplex.ae). Check the website for details of racing schedule. Admission is Dhs25 to watch races The club has five tracks for quad bikes, drag cars, motocross and endurance races, and a 120m by 120m skid pan.
Umm Al Quwain Aeroclub Learn how to fly (or fall out of) planes. Umm Al Quwain-Ras Al Khaimah Road, opposite Motorplex (06 768 1447; www.uaqaeroclub.com). By appointment only.
Umm Al Quwain Fort and Museum Similar to other fort museums across the UAE, but with a better layout, this is worth at least a half-hour stroll. There are archaeological relics, weapons and jewellery on display. Al Lubna Road, Old Town (06 765 0888). Open daily 9am-1pm and 5pm-8pm. Tue, ladies only. Admission Dhs4.
Imar Spa A day spa that also offers overnight deals in glam rooms facing a small private beach, with massage, facials, ayurvedic treatments, colonics et al all available. Lagoon Road, just north of the vegetable market (06 766 4440; www.imarspa.com). Open daily 9am-9pm. From Dhs125 for a 30-minute massage to Dhs4,750 for a seven-night detox and colonic stay. For women only.
1 For starters, it’s got a cool name. Ras Al Khaimah literally translates to ‘head of the tent’. Just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport by car, the emirate has one of the most varied landscapes in the country, with rocky mountains, orange sandy deserts, green plains, creeks, lagoons and a long, clean stretch of coast.
2 It’s got an Antarctic-themed waterpark. Where better to cool off than at Ice Land Water Park? Complete with fake glaciers and model penguins, there are rides and slides to keep kids big and small happy. Dhs175. E11, Ras Al Khaimah, www.icelandwaterpark.com (800 969 725).
3 Play a round on a different golf course. Done Dubai’s fairways to death? The chance to tee off on a different course – and a very reasonably priced one at that – is a great reason to hit the road. Weekend rates for visiting players at Al Hamra Golf Club start from Dhs295 for 18 holes, and Dhs175 for nine holes, while weekdays you’re looking at Dhs275 and Dhs150 respectively. Can’t stand the heat? Hit the floodlit nine-hole course after dark, with tee-off times until 7.50pm. Al Hamra Golf Club, Al Hamra Village, Coast Road, RAK, www.alhamragolf.com (07 244 7474).
4 There are some great beach hotels to check out. Ras Al Khaimah is one of the most relaxed places to be in the UAE at this time of year, and DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island is a great place to while away a weekend or cheeky mid-week break, with prices starting from Dhs560 per room per night. A 650-metre private beach offers heaps of watersports, while there’s also volleyball, badminton, tennis and more, plus a whopping seven restaurants and bars. Marjan Island Boulevard, Ras Al Khaimah, www.doubletree3.hilton.com (07 203 0000).
5 Beach not your bag? Gaze out over Ras Al Khaimah’s beautiful terracotta-hued dunes from across your own private pool at Banyan Tree Al Wadi, and check a real bucket list break off your UAE to-do list. The super secluded resort features stunning private villas, ranging from the one-bedroom apartment-sized Al Rimal Deluxe (prices start from Dhs2,056.50 per room per night) to the jaw-dropping Al Sahari Tented Pool Villa, large enough to host a whole family. Activities include private dinners with butler service atop the Safran Tower, horse riding, sunrise and sunset yoga and much more. Al Mazraa, Wadi Khadija, Ras Al Khaimah, www.banyantree.com (07 206 7777).
6 There are some incredible historical sites – including the stunning Jazirat Al Hamra, which is one of the oldest sites in the country. Inhabited constantly from the 16th century until around 40 years ago, forts, schools, mosques and many buildings still stand. Also check out the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, part of an old fort, for an insight into the many different tribes who have called the emirate home, from date farmers to the desert community to the people of the region’s mountains. Ras Al Khaimah Old City, www.rakheritage.rak.ae (07 233 3411).
7 You can try a number of unique watersports – including, but by no means limited to, the microlight boat contraption operated by RAK’s Flyfish. Take off from the sea and explore the emirate’s coast from the skies, before cruising back down to land back on the waves – it’s the perfect early morning or sunset activity (though sadly, only for those weighing less than 85kg). Dhs400 per person. Marjan Island Resort and Spa, Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, www.facebook.com/flyfishwatersport (055 742 7524).
8 It’s the perfect place to try traditional sports such as falconry, archery and horse riding. Ras Al Khaimah Equestrian and Adventures Club (056 706 4774) offers riding and lessons, and has a swimming pool you can cool off in after. Over at Banyan Tree Al Wadi (07 206 7777), watch and take part in demonstrations by falcons, hawks, kestrels owls and eagles, or see just how nifty you are with a bow and arrow.
9 It serves the UAE’s only dry-aged steak. Head to the Lexington Grill at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah (07 203 5555), where award-winning chef Lij Heron uses a special age-drying facility to hang his steaks for between three and four weeks to intensify the flavour. We think we need to try this one out for ourselves (for research purposes, obviously).
10 Because if it’s summer and you’ve no chance of a real holiday in cooler, stranger climes, you owe it to your health to hit the road instead of vegetating on your couch. A 2009 study by Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace found that active leisure pursuits and taking holidays helped reduce job stress in a sample of almost 900 lawyers. Case closed.
Often overlooked, Sharjah has a rich legacy of arts, heritage and culture. Home to 17 first-class museums, packed with art, treasures and artefacts from Islamic culture and history, they look in depth at the heritage of Sharjah to the wider region along with archaeology, science, children’s learning and natural history.
Under the leadership and patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the Supreme Council, the Sharjah Museums Department was established in 2006 to oversee and link the current and future museums of Sharjah. The Museum’s aim is, through its facilities, exhibitions, and programmes, to encourage and support learning, research and community outreach. This March, the Museums Department is hosting weekly events for adults, children and families.
Sat 12 March: Renovating Historical Dhows
Learn about the various techniques in renovating wooden boats in the past, a gallery-talk led by UAE artist and critic Ali Al Abdan. 11am at Sharjah Maritime Museum
Sat 26 March: Meet the Curator
This event gives visitors a regular opportunity to learn more about the objects and themes presented at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization with the help of museum-based and invited experts. Today’s event is an ‘Interactive Illumination’ workshop in conjunction with the ‘Salar Jung’ exhibition with Dr Fatma Hasan of Sharjah University, 11am at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. 6pm at Sharjah Art Museum, evening walking tour of Sharjah Biennial 10 by Sharjah Art Foundation.
Sat 12 March: Sculpture
Create an art piece that transmits lights through patterns inspired by the building of Sharjah Art Museum. 11am, Sharjah Art Museum
Sat 19 March: Treasure Map
Find jewellery and enjoy creating it in groups. 11am, Sharjah Archaeology Museum
Sat 26 March: Climate Guide book
Observe the weather and write your observations in your own climate guide book. 11am, Al Mahatta Museum